You can reduce your water usage by at least 30 percent through green plumbing. Listed below are a number of options for you to think about when customizing your home or renovating. The changes you can make aren’t just limited to altering your appliances but altering your habits. The more lifestyle changes you make, the more water you save.
Types of green plumbing
Tankless water heaters – These heaters use less energy than a traditional tank-type water heater. They last up to 10 years longer than tank-type heaters, take up less space and the hot water they supply runs continuously as it isn’t limited to the size of the tank. The downside is that they cost significantly more than tank-type heaters, they have a limited output and they don’t always provide consistent hot water.
Low-flow shower heads – These shower heads reduce the flow of water that’s released from the head either by mixing air in with the water (aerating) or restricting flow without mixing in air (non-aerating). The effect is an increased water flow velocity that makes the spray seem more high powered, giving the feeling that the body is getting as wet as with a regular shower head.
Dual-flush toilets – Toilets use up 26 percent of household water. To reduce this water usage a flush button on a dual-flush toilet gives two options: One uses less water when flushing (for liquid waste) and the other uses more—for solid waste.
Steam showers – Instead of using water, steam can be just as effective as a bath or shower by cleaning out the pores and getting rid of dirt and grime for the skin. Steam also increases circulation and relaxes the muscles.
Rainwater harvesting system – Water your plants and grass for free—instead of using a water sprinkler in your garden, this system saves water by collecting rainwater that falls on the roof or other surfaces and reuses it.
Whole house water filters – Installing filters in your home will rid chemicals or toxins from your water, which extends the life of heaters and plumbing fixtures because harmful microorganisms aren’t attaching to them.
Tips for green plumbing
Fix leaky faucets – If a faucet is left leaking it can waste about 20 gallons of water so it’s highly important to fix this. It may seem expensive to get a plumber but can save you lots on your water bills in the long run.
Get yourself a water filter – A Brita or other water filter replaces the need to buy fresh bottled water. It filters your tap water and can make it just as fresh as any bought bottled water. Also, keep a reusable water bottle in the fridge to fill up—the last thing you want to do is throw away all kinds of empty plastic bottles.
Turn the tap off – When brushing your teeth, make sure to turn the tap off while you brush. A running tap can waste up to eight gallons of water.
Unblock your sink naturally – When your sink gets blocked, it can be easy and “quicker” to use a chemical sink unblocker. By using these products you’re sending chemical toxins down your pipes, which are quite bad for the environment. There are safer methods of unblocking a sink such as a plunger. If this doesn’t work, try to temporarily remove the U-bend from under the sink so you can physically remove the blockage.
Use Energy Star appliances – Energy Star ratings let you know just how much energy appliances like washing machines and dishwashers use. Appliances marked with an Energy Star rating are usually more energy-efficient than non Energy Star appliances and will save you lots of money on your water and energy bills.
Can you think of other green plumbing ideas that you think are helpful? Leave your comments below.
[box]Jennifer Smith writes for Conwy Valley Plumbing, the plumbing, gas and heating installers.[/box]